In Paraguay, abortion is only legal when the mother’s life is in danger. Which apparently doesn’t cover the risks inherent to being pregnant after being raped… when you’re ten years old… and weigh only 75 pounds.
The story of that anonymous child, five months pregnant after being raped by her stepfather, is causing a stir in the staunchly anti-abortion nation. It’s not hard to see why since the government has completely ruled out abortion as an option for the girl:
“She has no pain or complications,” said Dolores Castellanos, the doctor who heads the special section and who has been tasked by the health ministry with supervising the girl’s care.
Castellanos described the girl as “tiny,” talkative and friendly, and said she has gained weight as her pregnancy proceeds on a diet of proteins, iron and liquids.
But she acknowledged that her high blood pressure and low body weight pose risks, “as with all the others who conceive precociously.”
Still, Castellanos is not worried, citing a previous case of a raped child who gave birth at ten and survived. This rosy outlook, however, is not shared by humanitarian groups that
… insist the girl’s life is in danger, citing her four-foot-six-inch (1.39 meter) frame and weight of only 75 pounds (34 kilos).
Considering the child’s situation, it seems doctors are willing to risk her health and life by forcing the continuation of this pregnancy. Why?
The government, the courts, the Catholic Church and other civic groups have been adamant, however, that her pregnancy not be terminated, in part because of its advanced state.
“The pregnancy will not be interrupted,” said Health Minister Antonio Barrios, the former personal physician of Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes. “We’ve already completely ruled out abortion.”
It’s not surprising that politicians, doctors, or priests who utterly disregard a woman’s — or girl’s — bodily autonomy except in the most dire situations would imperil a rape victim’s health by forcing her to carry a risky pregnancy. As always in such extreme cases, though, the lengths “pro-life” advocates will follow, and the complete disregard for the long term mental and physical well-being of the girl in question, are appalling examples of where women fit into this kind of worldview.
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